Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Fri Dec 14 2001 - 23:04:30 MST

> Amara Graps wrote: Dear Extropes,
> I returned to Heidelberg 1.5 days ago from my business/personal trip
> to the U.S., and since this was my first trip back 'home' to the
> U.S. since September 11, I am compelled to note my observations of
> how the U.S. appears to me these days.

This post had more impact on me than perhaps any other one
since the attacks. Herein I share a few thoughts on the matter,
not necessarily debating, but making observations as Amara
has done.

> First, for those of you women who have upcoming travels: it seems
> that women traveling alone are a red flag for U.S. airport security...

My wife confirms this. We went to Florida at Thanksgiving, then
I had to go to New York on travel while she returned to Taxifornia
alone. In the Orlando airport she was "randomly" selected and
searched *four times*. They unpacked all the luggage, twice, then
got all proctological with the metal detector at each of the checkpoints.

Let us ask why this is happening. One must wonder what has become
of the security crews that were on duty the morning of the attacks,
specifically those who realized their failure to detect the weapons resulted

in the loss of thousands of lives. Have any of these taken their own
lives? Would not their quality of life approach zero? One must
understand that every airport security crew in the world will now
go to extraordinary measures to not become the next person who
must live with that dreadful burden for the rest of his or her life.

Terrorists might imagine the next attempt at using an airliner for a
guided missile would require a woman, preferably a fair-haired
blue-eyed one, to carry the weapons on board, reasoning that
Jihad Barbie has a greater chance of actually getting the arsenal
past the guards.

Thus, the security crews might be extra careful scrutinizing a
woman traveling alone. Thoughts?

> Or sometimes I got the impression that the flags were more like a
> fashionable trend.

Of course. No argument at all there.

> ("Universe Bless the Milky Way").

Roger that. Everything we are, every atom, very nearly every photon
that reaches our eye originated in the Milky Way, and will likely always
be so. I want a flag with a single spiral galaxy.

> If I was living [in the states], I would find it very difficult to think
> of
> alternative peaceful solutions to the 'War' with the media hammering
> away as it is.

The news media play that which sells. Thank the universe for the
off switch.

Suppose you could isolate yourself from the hammering media. Would
you still have difficulty thinking of alternative peaceful solutions to the
war? My notion is that we have insufficient technology to do much
else besides what is currently being done.

I have a vision of what future weapons will be like. These might not
even be recognizable as weapons, at least not in the sense that we
know weapons today. They would not hurl chunks of metal the
way our current primitive weapons do. Extrapolate the trends from
the last half century in technology. Imagine advanced weapons that
would not destroy property, nor even lives. Sufficiently advanced
weaponry would not even cause physical injury. They would,
however destroy certain memes. Sufficiently advanced weaponry
would destroy the memes that motivate the Taliban to do the
inhuman acts they carried out on such a massive scale.

Unfortunately we currently do not have sufficiently advanced weapons.
Let us develop them.

> The means to generate funds to benefit those close to the September 11
> victims appears to be taken to new levels I've not seen before: product
> labels carrying elements of the September 11 events...commercialization
> was
> too... slick. Like selling cars. I would rather grieve about the
> September 11, losses without the commercialization.

As would we all. But the government has nothing to say to business
about how they sell their products. This is anarcho-capitalism at work.
Crass as it is, I would have it no other way, for I know of no other
way that would work as well, nor any other way which would work
under the sacred first amendment of the US constitution. Do you?

> Finally, I observed a transformation in America, that frankly scared
> me. It's there now, and is trickling outside. Fear, suspicions,
> sometimes paranoia.

Bin Laden has quoted a verse in the Koran which says "...Fight
them [the infidels] until they confess that there is no God but Allah..."

I will not say that. I know many here who will not say that.
Amara, I suspect that neither you nor Samantha nor Anders
nor Damien nor any of the others here will give in to this
religious tyranny. Even if we did say it, they would know
we were lying. This nation cannot be ruled by the koran.

The Taliban seem to have a special hatred for the US, however
they also consider all of Europe as the home of infidels. Guided
by the words of Mohammed, they would fight there as well, until
every European confesses that there is no god but allah. Europe
cannot be ruled by the koran. Asia cannot be ruled by a koran-
inspired tyrant.

Given that we have no advanced meme-destroying weaponry,
we are stuck with the ancient technique of destroying the
meme carrier. The evidence is sufficient: OBL and his minions
hate us, they want us dead. We want us alive. I am open to
suggestion here.

> ...I couldn't escape the feeling that the
> place where I was born and lived for most of my life (the U.S.) has
> gone a little bit insane.

Granted. This is what happens in war. War is a crime. We hate
all war and wish to end it. Ideally all killing should end. How?

> Before I moved out of the U.S. ~4 years ago, I was, in a small way, a
> pacifist, believing that one doesn't answer violence with yet again
> more violence.

Again, we are open to suggestion. Appeasement will not
stop the violence. This planet will not be ruled by the koran.

> I also believe that any group's rampant unhappiness
> or disrest has an element of truth embedded, and it must be
> addressed in a civil way...

...Short or worshipping allah or wearing beards/burqas please.

Honestly, we cannot stop our culture from invading theirs, for
we cannot stop radio waves. Our government does not control
business, it does not control Hollywood Incorporated. The
US government cannot be held responsible for that which our
own first amendment prevents it from controlling.

The Taliban hate the infidel because they know their own people
will choose the ways of the infidel over the ways of allah,
*if given the freedom to choose*. If their people can pick up
Baywatch, they will do so. The reprehensible Taliban fights
by destroying freedom, in order to preserve their deplorable
memes. If you can think of a way to destroy those memes,
without destroying the meme carriers, we are open to suggestion.

> ...or the violent cycle will continue.

I have no doubts there will be more terrorism. Our infrastructure
is still very vulnerable, especially airlines and roads. We need
better technology for discovering and preventing such attacks.
That is something every pacifist will support.

> The events since September 11, and my U.S. observations the last weeks,
> have polarized me (unexpectedly) much more as a pacifist, and I know
> now that the U.S. is not a good fit as an environment for me to live
> (or to raise a kid).

Our loss is great.

> I don't know if my observations are useful to anyone in the U.S. and
> I won't entertain arguments or debates, since they are mostly my
> observations. I'll only state that I'm very worried with the
> direction that the U.S. humans (and others) on this planet are
> following. Amara

As are we all. But let us look at the positive for a minute. Right
or wrong, the war will be over in a few days. As I suspected, there
are masses of middle eastern infidels whose rights were crushed
under the Taliban. These people are free now, or at least freer than
they were.

I am looking for something analogous to a capitalist/feminist
revolution to sweep over the Arab world, which will revolutionize
their society in a much more fundamental way than did the cultural
revolution of the 1960s here. I foresee a backlash against any
form of religious compulsion. Middle eastern countries may write
some form of a first amendment into their own governmental
constitutions. I believe we need the meme of universal freedom
of conscience before we have any chance at world peace. We
can all work towards that goal, regardless of where on this
planet we choose to live. spike

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